Shawn K. Singh, J.D.
Chief Executive Officer and Director
Shawn Singh has served as our Chief Executive Officer since August 2009; he joined our Board of Directors in 2000. Mr. Singh has nearly 30 years of experience working with private and public biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies, a venture capital firm, and a profitable contract research and development organization (CRO), serving in numerous senior management roles. Prior to joining us as Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Singh served as President of Artemis Neuroscience, prior to our acquisition of that company, Managing Principal of Cato BioVentures, a healthcare-focused venture capital firm, and as Chief Business Officer and General Counsel of Cato Research Ltd (now Cato-SMS), a global CRO. Earlier, Mr. Singh assisted with the IPO of SciClone Pharmaceuticals (formerly NASDAQ: SCLN), a revenue-generating, China-focused specialty pharmaceutical company, and served as its Chief Business Officer before departing to form Cato BioVentures with the founders of Cato Research. He began his career as a corporate finance attorney in the Silicon Valley offices of Morrison & Foerster LLP, with a transaction-focused practice involving both emerging biotechnology and high technology companies. Mr. Singh earned a B.A. degree, with honors, from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Mr. Singh is a member of the State Bar of California.
H. Ralph Snodgrass, Ph.D.
Founder, President, and Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Snodgrass co-founded VistaGen with Dr. Gordon Keller in 1998 and served as our Chief Executive Officer until August 2009. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior biotechnology management and is recognized as an expert in stem cell biology with more than 28 years' experience in the uses of stem cells as biological tools for research, drug discovery and development. Prior to founding VistaGen, Dr. Snodgrass served as a key member of the executive management team that led Progenitor, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developmental biology, through its initial public offering, and was its Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Director. Dr. Snodgrass also has over 10 years of research experience as a professor at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and served as a member of the Institute for Immunology, Basel, Switzerland. He is a former Board Member of the Emerging Company Section of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and a former member of the International Society Stem Cell Research Industry Committee. Dr. Snodgrass has published more than 50 scientific papers, is the inventor of more than 17 patents and a number of patent applications, and is or has been, the Principal Investigator on U.S. federal and private foundation sponsored research grants with budgets totaling more than $14.5 million. He received his Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ann Cunningham, MBA
Chief Commercial Officer and Director
Prior to joining VistaGen as Chief Commercial Officer, Ms. Cunningham served as Managing Partner of i3 Strategy Partners, where she guided senior pharmaceutical and biotechnology executives in planning and executing successful portfolio strategies and brand launches. Her experience in the pharmaceutical industry includes numerous instrumental roles in the successful commercial launch and sales of multiple CNS brands, including notably Lilly’s blockbuster CNS product, Cymbalta, for which she led the development and execution of the “Depression Hurts” consumer campaign, and a key Otsuka America CNS product, Rexulti, serving as Senior Director, Global Brand Lead. While at Lilly, she also led psychiatry sales teams as Area Sales Director responsible for Cymbalta, Zyprexa and Strattera. More recently, Ann led commercial development of a portfolio of products as Vice President, Neurodegenerative Disease and Psychiatry at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Ms. Cunningham holds a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
Jerrold D. Dotson, CPA
Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary
Jerrold D. Dotson, CPA has served as our Chief Financial Officer since September 2011, as our Corporate Secretary since October 2013 and as a Vice President since February 2014. Mr. Dotson previously served as Corporate Controller for Discovery Foods. Mr. Dotson also held various positions in the finance and administration department of Calypte Biomedical Corporation, including his last position as Vice President of Finance and Administration. Prior to joining Calypte, Mr. Dotson worked in various financial management positions, including Chief Financial Officer, for California & Hawaiian Sugar Company, a privately held company. Mr. Dotson is licensed as a CPA in California and received his B.S. degree (Cum Laude) in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from Abilene Christian College.
Mark A. Smith, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Mark A. Smith, M.D, Ph.D. joined VistaGen as our Chief Medical Officer in June 2016. Dr. Smith has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in CNS drug development. He has been a successful project leader in both discovery and development resulting in approximately 20 investigational new drugs (INDs). Dr. Smith has directed clinical trials aimed at depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, ADHD and agitation in Phase 1 through Phase 2b and has vast knowledge and expertise in drug discovery and development, translational neuroscience, clinical trial design and regulatory interactions. Prior to joining VistaGen, Dr. Smith served as the Clinical Lead for Neuropsychiatry at Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: TEVA), where he was accountable for the strategy and clinical development of neuropsychiatric drugs through all phases of development with a focus on schizophrenia, sleep disorders and agitation. Previously, Dr. Smith held a range of director positions including Executive Director of Clinical Development at AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Company (NYSE: AZN) where he led the early development of several novel chemical entities targeting treatment-resistant depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Dr. Smith has also held positions as Senior Director of Experimental Medicine of Global Clinical Development and Innovation at Shire Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SHPG) and served as Senior Investigator and Principal Research Scientist of CNS Diseases at DuPont Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: DD). Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, he served as a Senior Staff Scientist of the Biological Psychiatry Branch and Senior Staff Fellow of the Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Smith received his Bachelor's degree and Master of Science from Yale University, his Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California, San Diego and completed his residency in the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center.
Allen (Jo) Cato, III, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Development Operations
Allen (Jo) Cato, III, Ph.D. is an accomplished drug development scientist with over 25 years of scientific expertise in pharmacokinetic study design, data analysis, modeling, simulations, and report authoring. Prior to joining VistaGen, Dr. Cato served as Vice President at Cato BioVentures actively pursuing business development opportunities and technology evaluation in preparation of business development proposals. Dr. Cato also held various positions at Cato Research, Ltd. (now Cato SMS), most recently as its Chief Operating Officer where he maintained overall strategic and operational responsibility of the company’s multiple locations, including implementing new programmatic strategic initiatives. Additional responsibilities have included acting as project manager or program director on project teams that have had numerous FDA submissions and several European Medicines Agency submissions and scientific reviewer of regulatory, clinical, and scientific documents within and outside areas of technical expertise. Dr. Cato previously held positions at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Laboratories, and Research Triangle Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Cato earned a B.S. degree in Pharmacy and a Ph.D. in Biopharmaceutics from the University of North Carolina.
Mark J. Ginski, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Head of CMC
Mark J. Ginski, Ph.D. is a successful biopharma executive leader with over 25 years of broad CMC experience spanning preclinical and clinical development through commercial manufacturing of both drug substance and drug product for small molecules, peptides and biologics. Dr. Ginski has extensive experience with all aspects of CMC and has over two decades of experience with successful management of outsourced CMC activities with both contract research organizations (CROs) and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs). Prior to joining VistaGen, he served as Vice President, Product Development for ANI Pharmaceuticals and as Senior Director, CMC and Operations, Autoimmune and Rare Diseases for Questcor Pharmaceuticals/Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Ginski has previously held various leadership positions with Guilford Pharmaceuticals, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Alba Therapeutics. In addition, Dr. Ginski co-founded Fell Laboratories in 2011, whose only asset was acquired by Cerecor in 2012. Dr. Ginski holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland and received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Studies from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
Jaakko Lappalainen, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Global Clinical Development & Pharmacovigilance
Jaakko Lappalainen, M.D., Ph.D. brings decades of experience in clinical practice, early- and late-stage clinical development, and academic research. Prior to joining VistaGen, Dr. Lappalainen served as Chief, Addiction Psychiatry at Crozer Health where he was responsible for providing medical leadership for a large addiction treatment program. Previously, Dr. Lappalainen held various medical leadership roles at AstraZeneca, Marinus Pharmaceuticals, and Premier Research, a leading clinical research and development organization (CRO). He has extensive experience in the planning and execution of clinical trials across Phases I-III, including the studies leading to regulatory approval of Movantik® by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Earlier in his career Dr. Lappalainen was Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Lappalainen received his Ph.D. and M.D. from the University of Turku, School of Medicine in Finland.
Erik Berglund, M.D., Ph.D., R.A.C.
Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs
Erik Berglund, M.D., Ph.D., R.A.C. has over 30 years of scientific, regulatory, and medical experience, including 18 years of regulatory affairs management, across the virology, CNS, neuroscience, oncology, and cardiovascular sectors. Dr. Berglund has extensive knowledge and experience generating regulatory strategies for clinical development and registration, managing complex regulatory filings, preparing and submitting regulatory filings in global markets, and supporting global clinical trials. Prior to joining VistaGen, Dr. Berglund served in various roles at Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD), most recently as Senior Director, HIV Regulatory Affairs, where he was responsible for all regulatory aspects including leading regulatory project teams, supporting global clinical Phase 3 programs, and designing regulatory strategy for the INDs (U.S.), CTAs (E.U.), and global marketing application filings. Dr. Berglund previously held positions at Cato Research, Ltd.. (now Cato SMS) and Cato BioVentures Group. Dr. Berglund received his Medical Degree and Ph.D. in Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics from Umeå University, Sweden, and Regulatory Affairs Certification (R.A.C.) for both the U.S. and E.U.
Vice President, Investor Relations
Mark Flather joined VistaGen as Vice President, Investor Relations in March of 2021. Mr. Flather has more than 25 years of capital markets experience in various capacities on both the buy-side and sell-side. Most recently, Mr. Flather managed the Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for Adamis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ADMP), a specialty biopharmaceutical company primarily focused on developing and commercializing products in various therapeutic areas including allergy, opioid overdose, respiratory and inflammatory disease. While at Adamis, he was named on three different design patents for the company’s FDA-approved injection device platform. Prior to Adamis, Mr. Flather served as Vice President of Investor Relations and Outreach at MZ Group, a subsidiary of @titude Global, the world’s largest independent global IR consulting firm. Before MZ Group, Mr. Flather spent almost a decade as the Chief Operating Officer, Head Equity Trader, Investor Relations Director and Research Analyst for Hermes Advisors, a small to mid-cap equity hedge fund with an elite track record. Previously, he began his sell-side experience on the institutional sales and trading desk of the investment bank, Alex. Brown and Sons. Mr. Flather holds a B.A. in Psychology from U.C. Santa Barbara
Rita E. Hanover, Ph.D., R.A.C.
Vice President, Biostatistics and Clinical Analytics
Rita Hanover, Ph.D., R.A.C. has over 30 years of research analytics experience. Prior to joining VistaGen, Dr. Hanover acted as Principal Analyst at Comagine Health, where she managed several nationally based and funded healthcare research projects. Dr. Hanover also has extensive experience in the design and analysis of pre-clinical and clinical studies, data analysis, and implementation of clinical research. Previous experience includes research and biostatistical positions held at Techniscan Medical Systems (acquired by QT Imaging), J3 Bioscience, and Pherin Pharmaceuticals. She served as Associate Director of Neurospsychology Research at the Salt Lake City Veterans Administration Medical Center, concurrent to faculty positions at the University of Utah, School of Medicine, Psychiatry and Neurosciences prior to 2003. Dr. Hanover earned a Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology from the University of Utah Interdepartmental Neuroscience, M.S. in Experimental Psychology and B.S. in Biology from Central Washington University.
Mark A. McPartland
Vice President of Corporate Development
Prior to joining VistaGen, Mr. McPartland served as the Vice President of Corporate Development and Communications at Stellar Biotechnologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBOT), a leader in sustainable manufacture of KLH, an immune-stimulating protein widely used in the field of active immunotherapy. While at Stellar, Mr. McPartland was responsible for transforming and expanding its capital markets and corporate communications strategy, while also supporting its global business development activities. Prior to Stellar, Mr. McPartland served as Senior Vice President at MZ Group, a subsidiary of @titude Global, the world's largest independent global IR consulting firm. His prior experience includes Vice President and Partner at Alliance Advisors, LLC where he specialized in the implementation of capital markets strategy, market positioning and financial communications, and Regional Vice President of Hayden Communications, Inc. where he led investor relations and corporate communications programs for micro and small cap companies. Mr. McPartland received his Bachelors in Business Administration and Marketing from Coastal Carolina University.
Louis Monti, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Translational Medicine
Dr. Monti joined VistaGen as Vice President, Translational Medicine in December 2019. Prior to joining VistaGen, Dr. Monti served in multiple leadership roles at Pherin Pharmaceuticals since its founding in 1991, including President and CEO from July 2018 through November 2020, Executive Vice President from 2002 to July 2018, and Vice President of Research from its founding in 1991 to 2002. Prior to joining Pherin, Dr. Monti held various academic positions at the University of Utah and the University of the Republic, Uruguay. He earned an M.D. from the University of the Republic, Uruguay School of Medicine, and a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of Utah. Dr. Monti holds memberships in the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, and the International Brain Organization.
Ellis Wilson, Jr., M.S., E.M.B.A.
Vice President, Global Clinical Operations
Ellis Wilson, Jr., M.S., E.M.B.A. brings over 25 years of experience planning, executing and delivering drug development programs across multiple therapeutic areas and all phases of development. Prior to joining VistaGen, he served as Vice President, Clinical Development at NRX Pharma (Nasdaq: NRXP) where he was responsible for late-stage clinical programs. Mr. Wilson has also served as Executive Director, Commercial Strategy Lead for Neuroscience at PPD and Vice President, Product Development at WavoDyne Therapeutics. He worked nearly 15 years at AstraZeneca, where he was integrally involved in many key development programs. Roles at Merck and NovoNordisk round out his clinical development experience. Mr. Wilson earned his Executive M.B.A. in Pharmaceutical Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University Haub School of Business; his M.S. in Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs from Temple University School of Pharmacy; his M.S. in Health Services Administration from West Chester University; and his B.S. in Pharmacy from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.